In the 12 years that Lilliana Vazquez has been working in the cut-throat television industry, she has barely cried. But parenthood is a different story.
“I’ve had some awful days as a TV host … But, I think I’ve had a work-related cry maybe once,” Vazquez told Know Your Value. Meanwhile, “my son can decimate me in three seconds. He can literally bring me to tears with one bad hour. Figuring out how I exist in this new vulnerable version of me has been really challenging.”
Eight weeks ago, the Emmy-winning “E! News” and “Pop of the Morning” host gave birth to a son named Santiago, nicknamed Santi. While fighting off sleep deprivation and the chaos of a newborn alongside her husband Patrick McGrath, Vazquez has learned a lot about her own resilience and priorities.
“I'm a workaholic. I very rarely say ‘no’ to an ask from a producer, but having Santi makes me really rethink what I say ‘yes’ to,” said Vazquez. “That’s a lesson that’s coming late in life. I’m 41 and an older mom. It took me having a baby for me to really set boundaries around my time. It makes me much more efficient as an employee and producer.”
Vazquez has only said ‘yes’ to causes she believes in, which is why, starting Friday, she’ll be hosting the two-day second annual Latinas Make a Difference Summit, created by Latina activist organization Poderistas. The summit will feature appearances by Poderistas founders Eva Longoria and America Ferrera, as well as high-profile talent like producer Soledad O’Brien and political strategist Ana Navarro. The event will cover a broad range of topics affecting the Latina community, from fitness to politics.
Vazquez, who is half-Mexican and half-Puerto Rican, said she is particularly interested in discussing reproductive rights and health care within the Latina community, in part due to her personal experience. Vazquez underwent IVF treatment and tried to get pregnant for six years, but she didn’t discuss her journey with her own family.
“I’m usually very open with my family about everything, but I kept it really private,” Vazquez said. “Infertility and reproductive health are highly stigmatized in the Latin community. We don't really talk about it. Going through IVF is considered very foreign.”
She encouraged women to talk about their experiences and to find the support they need.
She added: “There are women who are going through this privately and suffering alone. There are dangerous stigmas that exist in this community, but the more we talk about it, the easier it will be for us going forward.”
Vazquez reminded women who are struggling with infertility that IVF is just one tool. It’s not the be-all-end-all solution for everyone.
“It’s important to keep all your options open, and to remember that being pregnant is one thing, being a parent is another. Adoption, fostering, surrogacy, egg donors—there are so many options for becoming a parent. Putting pressure on yourself to become pregnant shortchanges your options,” she said.
Vazquez is riding out maternity leave in her Los Angeles home. She is continued working on her personal lifestyle brand LV Guide. Going forward, she hopes to do more production and writing projects in the vein of her recent series “Pop on Peacock.”
While promoting activist causes for mothers, Vazquez is also learning how to take care of herself during this time of transition.
“I’ve felt lost on certain days. No one is a supermom. We’re all trying to do the best we can with those little people. I went from having a very regimented system to living moment to moment,” said Vazquez. “But I’m here to take care of him at all costs. There is such a physiological connection to them. It will overpower anything you feel about yourself.”